Tapping into new technologies and integrating data streams will help to advance the widespread, consistent implementation of traceability systems across the food industry. However, the affordability of such technologies, particularly for smaller companies, can be a barrier to implementing tech-enabled traceability systems.
FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative strives to work with stakeholders to explore low-cost or no-cost options so that our approaches are inclusive of and viable for human and animal food operations of all sizes. Democratizing the benefits of digitizing data will allow the entire food system to move more rapidly towards digital traceability systems.
Low- or No-Cost Tech-Enabled Traceability Challenge
The primary goal of this challenge was to encourage stakeholders, including technology providers, public health advocates, entrepreneurs, and innovators from all disciplines to develop traceability hardware, software, or data analytics platforms that are low-cost or no-cost to the end user.
The challenge was launched on June 1, 2021, and open for submissions until July 30, 2021. On September 13, 2021, FDA announced the 12 winners of the challenge. Additional information about the challenge and winners can be found at this site: Meet the Winners of FDA’s Low- or No-Cost Food Traceability Challenge
In May 2023, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) released a report commissioned by the FDA that evaluates food traceability trends based on the 90 submissions from this challenge. The report is intended to contribute to ongoing industry discussions about the role of technology in food traceability.
- IFT’s Tech-Enabled Traceability Insights Report Based on the FDA’s Low- or No-Cost Traceability Challenge
Tech-Enabled Traceability Video Series
This educational video series is focused on how food companies’ use of tech-enabled traceability can enhance food safety and protect consumers from foodborne illness. This video series includes companies that participated in the Low-or No-Cost Tech-Enabled Traceability Challenge and expressed an interest in participating in this video series. FDA does not endorse any technology, company, or solution and the views and opinions of the video series participants represent those of the speakers and should not be considered to represent advice or guidance on behalf of FDA.